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Defrosting 'can lead to winter car thefts'

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Drivers could be at risk of theft if they leave the family car unattended while waiting for it to defrost.

This is the warning from AA AutoWindshields, which estimates 40 per cent of drivers leave the engine running before beginning their journey to help clear the windscreen and windows of ice and snow.

It warned that people who do not stay with their car during this time could fall victim to theft and insurance companies are unlikely to pay out.

Technician at the firm Dean Hill described frosty mornings as a "christmas gift" to car thieves, as the fact that keys are in the ignition and the engine is running makes vehicles very easy to steal.

"Car owners will also get a cold reception from their insurance company as loss by leaving keys in an unattended vehicle is specifically excluded from motor insurance policies," he warned.

Theft is not the only potential problem facing drivers who wake up to a frozen car. Research from Autoglym revealed many people use boiling water, alcoholic drinks and spatulas to clear ice, all of which can damage the windscreen.

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